Annual Count Shows a Doubling of Homeless People in WeHo

The number of homeless people in West Hollywood is roughly twice what it was last year according to data gathered in L.A. County’s annual homeless count.

An on-the-street survey last night found 87 homeless people in WeHo. In 2015, the year that the biannual survey became an annual survey, there were 43 people. The figure was 45 in 2013. The data reflects the number of homeless people at a specific point in time and not an annual average.

The increase in homeless people supports the claims of local residents who have expressed concerns about the health and safety of those and also about the well being of residents who have experienced minor thefts, substance abuse and public nuisances by homeless people.

John D'Amico
John D’Amico

City Councilmember John D’Amico told WEHOville that he has asked the City Manager to put an emergency item on Monday’s City Council agenda that would allocate $500,000 to improve public safety in areas with large numbers of homeless people. That money would come from $2.2 million already allocated to the local Sheriff’s Station by the city that wasn’t spent last year.

“We now have enough facts to see what people are telling us,” D’Amico said. We have 100% more homeless people in our city than last year. I think it’s an emergency.”

D’Amico was speaking about complaints from local residents about break-ins by homeless people, defection on private and public property, drug use and prostitution. Roxanne McBryde, a resident of the city’s Eastside, described her neighborhood’s issues in detail in a recent opinion piece published by WEHOville.

“The numbers revealed in this homelessness count are vitally important,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath. “This data fundamentally informs the city about where resources are most needed, and it empowers the city to respond in an effective manner in providing needed assistance to people in West Hollywood who are homeless.”

A press release from the city acknowledged that city’s Eastside, between Fairfax and La Brea avenues, is where most of the 87 homeless people are found. “The count demonstrated that there were 48 homeless people east of Fairfax Avenue within the city’s geographic municipal boundaries — 35 people were counted north of Santa Monica Boulevard; 13 people were tallied south of Santa Monica Boulevard. The majority of people counted were male individuals over the age of 25; no families or encampments were seen in the count.”

The survey was organized by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Teams of volunteers, including City Councilmember Lauren Meister, were led last night by Sheriff’s deputies and employees of People Assisting the Homeless (P.A.T.H.) through all of the city’s 1.89 square miles.

A homeless count for all of L.A. County has not been made available. Last year the count was 44,000 people. “The city will work with LAHSA to determine whether the increase in West Hollywood’s tally is unique to the city, or if the numbers reflect a trend across the region,” said a city statement.

The city also said it was upping its response to the issue, “enhancing its current efforts with a focused street-outreach response with teams from PATH, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the Friends Research Institute.”

West Hollywood works with LAHSA to connect people who are homeless to LAHSA’s winter shelter program, which provides pop-up walk-in shelter resources in various locations throughout the Los Angeles area. Homeless people can get access to these locations through various street-outreach teams, through the city’s Social Services Division, or by way of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

In addition, street outreach teams are proactively providing information about the city’s Winter shelter program and coordinating transportation or providing directions to the locations with bus tokens or transit passes.

West Hollywood contracts with P.A.T.H. for several services for the homeless:
• The city contracts with PATH for 10 shelter beds (among other services);
• The city participates in PATH’s hotel/motel voucher program, which is an emergency bed option for homeless community members in crisis after hours and on the weekends and includes transportation;
• The city has a partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which provides shelter and services for at-risk youth; and
• The city assists with connecting people to local alcohol and drug residential programs and transitional (sober) living facilities, which provide treatment, shelter, and wraparound services.
For people who are homeless in the community who decline offers of shelter, outreach teams provide other assistance such as food and hygiene kits, as well as blankets, socks, and other emergency supplies.

Other information about West Hollywood’s resources for homeless people is available on its website. including a downloadable document with comprehensive information about emergency shelter options.

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Flores St.
Flores St.
5 years ago

I have no doubt that there are many homeless on the east side, but there are also several on my walk from the 24 Hr gym to Flores Street. Usually in front of the liquor store, the CVS and the veterans park.

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

Another reason D’Amico continues to hold my support. It’s not rocket science. Just another example Eastside residents have powerful voice and a fighter speaking up on our behalf. This is unbelievable… Doubling of the numbers?? Why? What has driven this? I didn’t see in the piece what is driving the numbers and why the area (between La Brea and Gardner mostly). I mentioned a Sheriff on patrol recently caught one one of these “desperate” souls scaling my gate — in broad daylight. And just 3 weeks ago, my neighbor’s property was set on fire – engulfing his front fencing and… Read more »

Mimi
Mimi
5 years ago

Let me understand this – we have money that was allocated to the Sheriffs that wasn’t spent last year? While crime has all but skyrocketed in this city and promises of extra sheriffs goes unfulfilled. They can spend millions on those dumb videos about how to cross the street but coming up with $500,000 has to be an emergency allocation? This council is pathetic. Damico needs to go.

SE
SE
5 years ago

I’m curious if the Sheriff’s department will find the officers to improve public safety. If I recall correctly, they were unable to increase their foot patrol (to improve public safety) these past 6 months because they couldn’t find anyone to do it. There is nothing encouraging about what the Council says it is going to do when the police department routinely fails to act on their orders. In most companies, when the boss fails to hire additional staff, the boss and the employees pick up the slack…unless they can hide behind a powerful union and continue to make excuses.

Jimmy Palmieri
5 years ago

The very day I learned of these numbers i was out walking my dog at 7am. Kings Road park was not open yet, but there were 4 homeless folks waiting on the bench and in front of the gate to get in. I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN OUTREACH TEAM FROM PATH AT THIS PARK EVER. I have asked numerous times that they make it a regular spot. They even say they have been there. I have lived on this block for nearly 20 years. I am in the park 4-5 times daily with my dog at many different hours. I… Read more »

Jeffery
Jeffery
5 years ago

That is almost $6000.00 per homeless person not counting any other service from what is already available to them. If I sound cynical or skeptical it is because I am. I can not help but think how many of these new homeless persons have been attracted here by someone offering them or attracting them to services that are not actually sanctioned by the City, you know, out of the kindness of their heart. I do not doubt that the numbers are real or that we should be doing more, it is a real issue, but we have to be careful… Read more »

Lynn
Lynn
5 years ago

Any positive measure is welcomed however like Rudolf, what seems hard to comprehend is just how this simultaneous accounting occurred, what were the parameters and how the volunteers were able to distinguish the variables. Did they glean any other useful information that would benefit those most likely to accept help? Who actually keeps track of the vulnerable and who has access to the information? Are there things the general public should be aware of that might influence measurable change?

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
5 years ago

I would guess that for every homeless person that was seen and counted that day, there are 3 more that were out of sight. Not tho mention the many in plain sight that do not appear homeless but are, many of them living in their cars. But the percentage increase tells us that the trend is a dramatic increase. Most of these people need and want help and we should double our efforts to make sure they get it. However: The recent wave of crimes, trespassing and general disturbances is a separate issue although some of these perpetrators might be… Read more »

Alison
Alison
5 years ago

What I took from this article is that the Council really didn’t believe the residents until they found out that the homeless numbers had doubled. It took a study and hard numbers before they believed the complaints about the homeless and what some have done in the community.

Budget question
5 years ago

If the $500,000 will come out of the Sheriff’s budget, what services will be cut?

Henry E. (Hank) Scott
5 years ago

No services will be cut. That money would come from $2.2 million that already had been allocated to the local Sheriff’s Station by the city that wasn’t spent last year.

Josef
Josef
5 years ago

It is encouraging to see that the City Council now recognizes that this is a real issue. The East side has seen the brunt of problems, but the city as a whole has been affected. One afternoon, I was approached by three different panhandlers in the Pavilions parking lot. One guy was overly aggressive, cornering me against my vehicle as I loaded groceries. When I declined to give him money, he then offered sex in exchange. When I declined that, he got really angry and actually made me nervous. While I believe we should help others, this incident and others… Read more »

K. Costello
K. Costello
5 years ago

Our local government should be out walking the streets they “govern” more often than when it is time for a count. If you lived in this community, you would not have had needed a count to “…have enough facts to see what people are telling us”. I moved to this city 4 years ago based on the review of the safety stats, which were very good, walking access to all sorts of entertainment, shopping, friendly neighbors. Now, I don’t feel very good as a single woman walking down the street after dark. This is not my make-up and I feel… Read more »

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